Sales Coverage: (Cont'd):
Creek / Page 4
This story is an unusually thoughtful
and sophisticated western which arouses us with its humane
perspective, containing realistic characters who exist in a
dangerous time, a conflict which pits neighbor against
neighbor, and a moral theme which challenges the viewer’s
The premise of a man who struggles to
convince others to act according to justice and not prejudice
is a timely and always poignant one (similar to the
detective’s struggle “In The Heat Of The Night”).
The theme of mercy is highlighted effectively and
elevates this western above many of its precursors of the
same genre. The
Indians’ dilemma with the encroaching white man, along with
the depiction of their race’s inherent pride, wisdom, and
gentleness, is clearly portrayed, bringing to mind the same
characteristics found in the Indians of “Dances With
same emotional empathy we felt towards the tribe of the
aforementioned film we feel towards the Indians of this
The opening shows the innocent,
unprejudiced friendship of two boys from two different races
that are at odds with each other, setting the stage
immediately for a conflict which takes place in a mysterious
and ominous milieu. The
underlying tension, which is craftily maneuvered by the
employment of false scares followed by real scares and last
minute rescues, takes hold of us and never lets go until the
moral timbre of the piece is presented initially by the
teachings of the spiritual leader of the Indian tribe.
Clasby’s entrance, reminiscent of the Greek Chorus
or a messenger in a Shakespearean play, is a harbinger of the
doom to come, immediately enlisting us as vigilant observers.
Tensions are layered upon tensions as the subplots
thicken. A dark
character (Clasby) is strategically established as the
overshadowing ominous presence which is always prepared to
pounce (just as the wolf is in the story) adding to our
angst is not prolonged to an excruciating degree because we
are relieved by the second act midpoint to be able to side
with and be comforted by justice’s swift sword and
equilibrating scales, although it is a justice which takes a
discerning eye for the mercurial situation.
Tension is also relieved by the insertion of humorous
moments (which are brought about mostly by enjoying the
Indian’s perspective of the white man’s world).
The author also keeps us on our
emotional toes by giving us intermittent shocks as we realize
how primitive the conditions were back in those days of the
early frontier. When
the inciting incident occurs, even though we have been
warned, we are still startled by its sudden arrival.
The author’s choice of not showing the massacre of
the Indians and only having characters allude to it is
extremely effective because no visual rendition could match
our imaginations in picturing such an atrocity.
The fact that the Indian child, who was taught the way
of peace, is slaughtered deeply saddens us, causing us to
sympathize even more profusely with the victims of the
outrageous attack, and it also announces that we have reached
a point-of-no-return in the story.
In such a short time, the author skillfully gains our
concern for the plight of the Indians.
The torch of courage is handed off throughout the
piece from one character to another, allowing us to focus
more fully on more than one character as holder of the flame
of good. The
author seduces us into thinking the story is going to head in
one direction, but instead, redirects it, giving it a
surprising turn. A
parallel is cleverly indicated between Caleb and Black
Antler, both being the spiritual leaders of their respective
clans. The legal
proceedings are intriguing as they expose us to myriad
perspectives of the men who committed the violence, thus
providing variety, and being fraught with conflict,
argumentation, and unpredicted moments.
The jury deliberation also engages us as we look into
the hearts of agonized men with a difficult decision to make.
The appearances of the Indians progressively proclaim
a quiet strength and compassion, which reflexively touches
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